I was in a grumpy mood this morning when I rode to work. Actually, it started yesterday afternoon when I left my office and arrived at my scooter parking to discover three motorcycles parked at the bicycle rack in the parkade that has generously allowed me to stuff my scooter in a corner. I make sure it is really stuffed against the wall, and doesn’t interfere with any cars or bother any cyclists. I have made a pretty solid relationship with the parkade attendant over the past four or five months, and I am always pleasant to any cyclists I encounter there. So far so good, not animosity. And then I come out and find a beat up old dirt bike, a massive BMW dual sport, and a cruiser, all jammed in and taking up the space that would have been occupied by about a half dozen bicycles. This can’t bode well. If I was a cyclist I would totally complain and have any and all scooters and motorcycles tossed out. When I arrived this morning, there were no bikes, and the attendant wasn’t in the booth. I parked where I have been parking for months, and crossed my fingers that it would be there at the end of the day. Luckily it was, and the attendant wasn’t the usual one. I geared up, and waved and smiled as I rode out past her, she gave me a smile, so that’s a positive sign. But I still have this feeling that this will be the inevitable end to my fabulous spot.
And it totally irritates me. I ride that scoot year round. In rain, sleet, and even snow. And these riders who only take their bikes out when the sun shines, who hide in cars at the merest threat of a sprinkle, are going to ruin it for me. I have no right to park where I do, I’m not a bicycle, but I park in the one spot that cyclists don’t really want because it’s against a concrete wall (and I get within a few mm) and it isn’t under cover as the rest of the racks are. But a motorcycle has absolutely NO place at a bicycle rack. Period.
But as I say, I was glad to come out and find my scoot alone and unticketed, and to receive a smile from the unfamiliar attendant.
I left work early to get home, swap rides, and head for the ferry. I joined the flock of riders waiting for the boat, the lonely sportbike in a crowd of cruisers and one enduro. One rider arrived after me and we all boarded. When I parked, I jumped of, hooked my helmet on the rear peg, and started to peel my tail bag off. The woman after me approached me and shyly asked if I could help her, she said she was new at this. When I said everyone has a first time on the ferry, she said “No, ALL of this.” New rider, first time on the ferry, didn’t know what to do with her helmet or if it was safe to leave her bags. I helped her with her helmet, turned out her brand new Honda Shadow has a cool helmet lock on the left side under the seat. I’d never seen one of those before, but what a fabulous little addition. I showed her how to block the bike against tipping over, and we chatted for a bit before heading our separate ways to the passenger decks.
When we were getting close to Departure Bay I headed down to fight my overstuffed tailbag back on (I am a super packer, I managed to get a change of clothes, toiletry bag, iPad and keyboard, notebook, camera, rubber boots, hiking shoes, and a pair of flip flops in there!) and ended up in a conversation with another couple of riders. One fellow has ridden his Harley all the way from Ontario and is now on his final leg to explore Vancouver Island before heading back the other direction. And another lives in Nanaimo and was just heading home from having his bike serviced in Vancouver. Seemed a bit out of the way until he explained that it was new, second service, included in the purchase price, and from now on he’d do it closer to home.
Then the ferry docked and we all rode off, fanning out in all directions. Three of us headed north, the other two left the highway in Nanaimo and I was left with an empty Island Highway and the sun low and in my eyes. But it was a gorgeous evening and traffic was almost nonexistent.
Once I was settled in my hotel room and kicked the air conditioner on (ahhhhhh) I took some time to go for a short walk to stretch out my muscles after the ride up here, and discovered a fabulous walk along the river that runs right behind my hotel.
Lovely evening! Pretty good day all around.